Chef Koochooloo is a web application that combines both cooking activities and STEAM topics together to create an immersive learning experience for K-5.
My team and I were brought onboard to resolve a problematic experience teachers were having when using the application. I led the team towards a solution that removed friction in the application for teachers by increasing customizability and discoverability for the teachers.
This story starts with a new group of adventurers hired to solve the problem of the confusing map to the treasure…
I helped create a teacher facing side of the client’s application to make it easier for teachers to teach the content that was provided by the Chef Koochooloo application. The solution me and my team came up with in the end was to allow teachers the ability to customize the lesson provided by the application. This insight was reached through observing live demos, interviews with teachers about their behaviours, and viewing the current flow of the Chef Koochooloo application.
Like any good group of adventurers to be able to read a map you must first know how to read the mysterious symbols!
- My team and I were offered a live demo viewing of how the current application was used in a classroom setting.
- I noticed there was a lot of downtime between screens and the teacher teaching the activity.
- I observed that each piece of content seemed a bit long and near the end of the lesson it was rushed because it couldn’t fit in the 55min time block.
- The kids were easily distracted and sometimes not engaged into the screen or the task at hand.
From the live demo of a lesson and product we saw managing the classroom to stay engaged was a big issue. But this was only part of the problem as we delved further into the research with interviews.
- I conducted six interviews with varying teachers of all ages, sexes, teaching grade, and both private and public teaching
- Break up their lessons and customize it to maintain focus of the classroom
- Teachers took on average over 2 hours of their own time to plan a new 1 hour lesson.
The big picture? TIME.
Time is used to balance the flow of a lesson and keep students engaged. A lot of personal time is used by teachers when they have to search for new material or content.
- Current state of the application was too rigind and linear resulting in a lesson that didn’t fit the teaching style or the needs of the teacher’s classroom
- Content inside each lesson was not searchable in any way which results in long time finding the content needed to teach
- By making the solution to make the content inside each lesson more discoverable the journey will become easier for the teacher
- Allowing customization of the lesson content would make the teachers more satisfied teaching the lesson and benefit the children learning to their learning styles
Mapping out the journey, I saw the problem was that for teachers who were using this application the most to teach their class needed roadblocks created by the application to be removed.
- Solution to Problem 1 (Customization): Ideation moved to modularize the very rigid lesson content Chef Koochooloo had and give teachers the power to customize the lesson in a way that worked for the teachers and their classroom.
- Solution to Problem 2 (Discoverability): By tagging the content in each lesson plan and giving the teachers the ability to search for it give more time back to the teachers as they take less time hunting for the content they needed.
For more information about the usability testing and its results please feel free to email me for the further detailed study
Let’s get visual
The solution had kept in mind the scalability of this application for the future. Addressed were the two problems discoverability and customizability. Both of these related to time for the user and maximizing their need.
The adventurers were able to descipher the map and dodge all the traps in the cave retreiving the long lost jewel to bring back to the village!
TAKEAWAYS & LEARNINGS
- Managing a live client versus a fictitional one required a lot of prior skills I had developed in tone of voice and delivery of message while maintaining to be firm with what was going to be done.
- Researching the user base (teachers) required some flexibility in the way we conducted interviews. There was a mix of video, audio, and in person interviews.
- Focusing on one feature due to unknown time constraints but then figuring out you have time available so working to do two usability tests in tandem in a very agile method
- Thinking about scalability of the product and realizing parts of the product may be needed changed from it’s current version; It was about having the thought in the future for what the engineers or the product itself may experience
- With the research & live demo realizing who the actual target user was and observing live how they used the product helped immensly with my direction and design
- Teachers as a user base is one of the hardest groups to get a hold of and test or interview for due to their busy time schedule